Location: Eagle Lake
Date: Saturday, June 13, 2015
This was a nice hike to mark the end of spring and to get ready for the summer hiking season. Arrived at the trailhead around 9:30 AM with temperatures in the low 60s and clear blue skies. There were two cars parked at the start of the trail, which helped us find the trail, as there are no signs marking the start of this unofficial trail. The majority of the trail is well worn and goes through the forest and was shaded most of the way. The trees generally got larger as we hiked further up the valley towards Eagle Lake. The trail had some minor improvements such as notches cut into some of the downed trees along the trail
As we continued up the valley, lots of views of the Townsend Mountain Peak and Ridge line were seen through the trees. It was easy to observe we were making progress by tracking our position relative the the Townsend Mountain peak. Townsend mountain was surprisingly bare of trees, with large scree slopes and a rocky top.
Abruptly, the trail through the forest ends, opening to the trails through Paradise Meadow. The grass in the meadow was nice and green and the Eagle Creek was flowing nice and clear. It would have been awesome to have a tent and setup a campsite in the meadow. We were also able to start seeing Merchant Peak poking above the trees, which we knew was beyond the Lake; we were getting close.
We walked along the most worn looking trail in the Meadow and made progress up the valley towards the lake. Soon, we were back into some trees and then met a person on the trail carrying small pieces of firewood back to his campsite. We were at Eagle Lake.
We quickly found a nice place on the side of the lake with some logs to sit on and took a break. It was a beautiful day to sit and look at the lake. Wish we had brought a proper lunch to enjoy by the lakeside, but the beef jerky and cashew bars were great to munch on while sitting by the lake. The dog had a good time splashing in the water and chewing up sticks picked up off the lake bottom. The water in the lake crystal clear and some (tiny) fish were observed swimming and jumping just off the shoreline.
Merchant Peak looked very nice overlooking the lake, with its rocky top shining in the sun.
The hike back down the valley toward the truck was quick and mostly uneventful. Wish I had brought my hiking pole, as the downhill part towards the end of the trail was a bit noticeable and almost lead to a sprained ankle a few hundred yards from the trailhead. We were able to see some awesome views of distant mountain peaks looking down the valley towards the south east. There were still some snow on top of the peaks in the distance.